Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Homer Thief Returns

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 5:17 PM

Joe Gillespie after a night of Homerin' it up in 2015. - MCSO
  • MCSO
  • Joe Gillespie after a night of Homerin' it up in 2015.

Next week kicks off another season for the Charlotte Knights at BB&T Ballpark, and to help us celebrate we've brought in a guy whose hijinks at the park have already become urban Uptown legend.

Joe Gillespie, aka the Homer Thief, subject of the most-read story Creative Loafing has ever published, has hooked up with JD Harris, founder of Charlotte-based Glory Days Apparel, to bring the city something they didn't know they needed for the upcoming baseball season.

Yes, Gillespie is bringing back the mullet-and-mustache combo seen 'round the world, but that ain't all. You'll have to wait until Creative Loafing brings you the full story on Monday, but until then, catch up on the legend as it was originally told, and check our guy in the teaser below...

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HB2 Deal Draws Criticism From Rights Leaders

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 12:45 PM

Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016. - JAMES WILLAMOR
  • James Willamor
  • Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2016.

Reacting to a deadline from the NCAA demanding that the North Carolina General Assembly repeal HB2 if the state wanted to host any championship games through 2022, leaders of both parties have gotten behind a compromise deal being pitched by Republican leaders of the NCGA and Gov. Roy Cooper. The new bill has already been passed through the state Senate and will go to the House floor this afternoon.

Politicians of both parties were already in celebration mode this morning, with North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin releasing a statement saying, "this dark chapter in North Carolina history appears to be finally coming to a close."

But as the American Civil Liberties Union said this morning in a tweet calling for a full repeal of HB2 without compromise, “This is more than economic issue. It's a civil rights issue. We must stand 4 [sic] LGBT people, especially #trans N. Carolinians. #RepealHB2 #NCGA.”

One of Gov. Roy Cooper’s campaign promises was to fully repeal HB2. Last night, in a backroom deal between the NCGA and Gov. Roy Cooper, a “compromise” was reached. “It’s not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation,” Cooper said last night.

The new bill, HB142, stops local governments from passing non-discrimination ordinances like the one that Charlotte passed last year. It stops state agencies, offices, schools, and any political subdivisions of the state from regulating single-sex multiple occupancy facilities like bathrooms and changing rooms, “except in accordance with an act of the General Assembly.” The bill places a moratorium on these actions until Dec. 1, 2020.

“Setting a moratorium on local government's ability to pass anti-discrimination ordinances and to regulate private employment practices is another sweeping act of hubris by the legislature and takes power from officials elected by the people to serve the rights of the people,” said the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, NC NAACP President in a statement released by the organization.

“This is no compromise. This is no repeal. This is HB2.0 and is perhaps more insidious in its targeting of LGBTQ,” said Chase Strangio, ACLU staff attorney, in an article earlier this morning. “Our bodies do not make others unsafe. We do not infringe on the privacy rights of others by existing in the world.”

Just after 11:30 a.m., the senate passed the bill 32-16. HB142 is now headed to the House and is expected to be voted on this afternoon.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

TIMELINE: Wishing a Not-So-Happy Birthday To That Hellish House Bill #2

Posted By and on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 7:39 PM

Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21. (Photo by James Willamoor)
  • Hunter Schafer (left) and Miquel Rodrigues of Raleigh protest the North Carolina General Assembly during a special session on Wednesday, Dec. 21. (Photo by James Willamoor)

So today, we decided to give our intern Jasmine a crash course education on that plague that is House Bill 2 by asking her to construct a quick timeline of all the reactions and effects of the law on our state — its people and its economy — since its passing one year ago today.

Hours later, she sent the following list, with only one exasperated comment to go alongside it: "Holy shit, that was a lot."

Even for us folks who were closely covering it all along, this list brings back some bad memories we had buried elsewhere. But we also know some stuff is missing. We plan to go more in depth with this shell of a timeline, and continue to add to it as the year progresses. So take to the comments section below and tell us what we missed.


22: Charlotte's City Council adds protections to the city's nondiscrimination ordinance that include sexual orientation and gender identity. Gov. Pat McCrory, Charlotte's former mayor, had warned city councilmen that if they did this, the state would intervene.


3: In a press conference, Republican legislators balk at the Charlotte ordinance, turning their ire on provisions that allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identity; the Republicans vow to hold a special session to overturn the ordinance, and one senator comments, “the city council of Charlotte has lost its mind.”

23: In one day, the NC General Assembly passes HB2, which goes well beyond the "bathroom" aspect of the Charlotte ordinance, nullifying all nondiscrimination ordinances statewide, effectively allowing overt discrimination against transgender people, and even prohibiting local governments from setting fair employment standards; hours later, McCrory signs the bill into law.

More than 100 people gathered in front of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on March 24 to protest the passing of HB2. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)
  • More than 100 people gathered in front of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on March 24 to protest the passing of HB2. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

24: Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. moves production of a new show, a Hulu original series named Crushed,​ out of Charlotte weeks before it was set to begin.

28: The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority publishes statement voicing concern about customers “negative feedback and potential event cancellations” in response to legislation. Later, announces that it has lost 13 conventions following the passage of HB2.

29: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo bans non-essential state travel to North Carolina. The American Civil Liberties Union files a lawsuit asking courts to overturn HB2.

29: CEOs of more than 80 companies write open letter to Gov. McCrory urging repeal. Companies include Apple, Coca-Cola, Facebook, Time Warner Cable, Yahoo, United Airlines, IBM and Visa.

31: ​Stephen Schwartz, composer of ​Wicked, prohibits any of his musicals from being performed in North Carolina.


1: Google Ventures pledges not to invest in North Carolina companies until law is repealed.

2: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton bans all non-essential business travel to North Carolina.

5: PayPal Holdings cancels company expansion plans for Charlotte.

8: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed bans non-essential city travel to North Carolina; Bruce Springsteen cancels April 10 Greensboro show, the first of many artists to follow.

12: Deutsche Bank financial services announces it is freezing planned expansion in Cary until bill is amended.

13: Former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr cancels June 18 concert in Cary.

14: Mumford and Sons donates all profits from show to local LGBTQ organization

18: Pearl Jam cancels April 20 show in Raleigh.

25: Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas cancel dates for dual tour.


9: Attorney General Loretta Lynch announces U.S. Department of Justice and the Obama administration is filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against North Carolina on grounds that HB2 is “impermissibly discriminatory.”

20:​ ​Maroon 5 cancels September shows scheduled for Charlotte and Raleigh.


4: Cyndi Lauper performs in Raleigh, donates all proceeds to Equality North Carolina’s efforts to repeal HB2.


13: Men’s basketball game between Duke and Albany is cancelled due to NY Gov. Cuomo’s travel decision.

21: NBA pulls 2016-2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.


1: Federal Judge Thomas Schroeder blocks HB2 in the case of a faculty member and two students at University of North Carolina, allowing them to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify while on campus.


12: NCAA announces it is pulling seven national championship games from North Carolina

14: ACC moves all neutral site championship games out of North Carolina.


25: CoStar Group Inc. real estate company chooses Richmond, Va., over Charlotte for firm expansion because of HB2.


20: Charlotte City Council repeals major protections of nondiscrimination ordinance in an attempted negotiation with state legislature to repeal the bill.

Students with Campus Pride protest the recent action of city leaders and inaction of state leaders on Dec. 22 in Charlotte. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)
  • Students with Campus Pride protest the recent action of city leaders and inaction of state leaders on Dec. 22 in Charlotte. (Photo by Ryan Pitkin)

21: The state legislature fails to follow through on promises to repeal HB2 in return for Charlotte’s repeal of its ordinance.


26: NC Senate leader Phil Berger says a "clean repeal" of HB2 is unlikely in 2017 legislative session.


1: NC Sen. Jeff Jackson files a bill for full repeal of HB2.

9: House Democrats file a bill for clean repeal, adding a “protected status,” defined as “a person’s race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military or veteran status, or genetic information.”


21: NC Sen. (and Charlotte mayoral hopeful) Joel Ford files bill for an HB2 repeal that would include one of those infamous "cooling-off periods," which mandates that cities cannot pass any ordinances regarding restroom access until 30 days after the current legislative session.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

WHOOPS: Corrected Spring Guide Knights Schedule (Promotions Included)

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 11:23 AM

It's the Knights' fourth season in the Uptown ballpark, and yet no one wants to believe that their friends have already seen enough skyline shots on social media. Snap away, folks. - LAURA WOLFF
  • Laura Wolff
  • It's the Knights' fourth season in the Uptown ballpark, and yet no one wants to believe that their friends have already seen enough skyline shots on social media. Snap away, folks.

So, this is embarrassing, but it came to our attention this morning that in this week's Spring Guide print edition, we screwed up the Charlotte Knights home schedule royally. And no, that awesome pun won't fix it.

For that reason, we've created this post to get things right, and we've included some of those ironically tacky promotions (did you know Soup Nazi was in town last year?!) so you know the right night to attend. Also, remember that every Thursday is a Thirsty one, with $3 domestic drafts and $1 small sodas, and every home game on a Friday night will feature post-game fireworks.

This isn't paid content or an advertising scheme — we actually haven't even heard from the Knights about our flub yet — we're just trying to fix things quick after realizing we've gotten ourselves behind in the count. Print this and hold on to it or put it in your "Favorites" folder or whatever it is you kids do these days. Our apologies for any confusion caused by the botched schedule in the print edition.

April 6-9: Norfolk Tides*
(April 9 is Homer the Dragon's Birthday Party)
April 18-20: Pawtucket Red Sox
(April 18, Jackie Robinson Day, Knights Honor the Negro League; April 19, Luis Tiant Appearance; April 20, Irish Heritage Night)
April 21-23: Rochester Red Wings*
(April 23, Wiffle Bat and Ball Set Youth Giveaway)
May 2-4: Norfolk Tides
(May 4, Star Wars Night and Homer Bobblehead Giveaway)
May 5-7: Gwinnett Braves*
(May 7, Pirates and Princesses Day)
May 15-17: Durham Bulls
(May 15, Bark in the Ballpark; May 16, Hispanic Heritage Night, Tony Oliva Appearance;
May 23-25: Syracuse Chiefs
May 26-29: Buffalo Bisons*
June 5-7: Durham Bulls

(June 7, Jerry "The King" Lawler Appearance)
June 13-15: Louisville Bats
(June 13, Women in Baseball night; June 14, Brian Jordan Appearance)
June 16-18: Indianapolis Indians*
(June 18, Yoga Day at the Ballpark, Father's Day Pre-game Catch on the Field)
June 26-29: Columbus Clippers
(June 26, Bark in the Ballpark; June 27, Crockett Park/Griffith Park Replica Giveaway; June 28, Bucky Dent Appearance)
June 30 - July 3: Gwinnett Braves*
(July 2, Super Hero Day; July 3, Independence Day Fireworks)
July 13-16: Gwinnett Braves*
(July 15, Carolina BBQ Battle Royale)
July 24-27: Columbus Clippers
(July 24, First Responders Night; July 25, Retro Knights Youth Jersey Giveaway; July 27, Jewish Heritage Night)
July 28-30: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders*
(July 30, Salute to Softball Night, Long Haul Bombers Exhibition)
August 4-6: Gwinnett Braves*
August 15-17: Toledo Mud Hens

(August 16, Jack Morris Appearance, Mustache Bash; August 17, German Heritage Night, Augtoberfest)
August 18-20: Lehigh Valley IronPigs*
August 28-31: Durham Bulls

(August 31, Greek Heritage Night, Greek Life Night)
September 1-4: Norfolk Tides*

*Weekend series

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Support Group Awards Young Educators of Color at Second Community Assembly

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 10:16 AM

Javon Thomas was among more than 200 or so educators attending the second annual Profound Gentlemen community impact assembly last Saturday, March 11, at Sedgefield Middle School in Charlotte. The organization, founded by Charlotte educators Jason Terrell and Mario Jovan Shaw, presented awards to several teachers among its more than 500 members across the country for outstanding work in helping nurture other young educators.

“Profound Gentlemen is a nonprofit organization that helps
male educators of color,” Thomas, a PG impact leader, tells Creative Loafing in this video clip. “We create a cradle-to-career pipeline for our boys of color.”

  • Shaw
Terrell and Shaw founded Profound Gentlemen when they saw a dearth of male role models of color in the nation’s education system. Only 2 percent of American teachers are black males (only 5 percent in minority-heavy Charlotte schools). What's more, the retention rates for black male teachers are lower than they are among other demographics. Terrell and Shaw knew why. Part of the problem is the eight to 12 hours a day teachers spend at work, taking parents away from their own families for a relatively low-paying job. That can be a particularly tough sacrifice for men of color, who already face numerous other challenging cultural impediments. Add to that the lack of interaction with other males of color, and the teaching environment for young black males can feel downright oppressive.

Terrell, 26, and Shaw, 27, decided to do something about it. They birthed the idea for Profound Gentlemen while roommates working with Teach for America, and got the program up and going in 2015. The program has since landed the duo on Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30 list of social entrepreneurs earlier this year.

  • Terrell
Thomas, a ninth-grade English teacher at Friendship Academy in Washington, D.C., was an early recruit.
“This is our second community impact assembly. Each year we hold a community impact assembly in March where all the gentlemen from our whole network [meet],” Thomas says in this clip. “We have guys from Memphis, Washington, D.C.; we have guys here in Charlotte, in Alabama; we have guys in Georgia, as well.

“The guys from our PG network — we all come together where we’re involved in different sessions that are facilitated by the guys along with some outside leaders as well,” says Thomas. “We just kind of help each other out and share best practices on how to deal with things going on in schools, in education.”

Stay tuned to CL for more on Terrell, Shaw and Profound Gentlemen.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Robert Bush Speaks Out on Trump's Proposed Cuts to NEA Funding

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Robert Bush, president of the Charlotte-based Arts & Science Council (ASC), released a statement this morning regarding reports that President Donald Trump's first federal budget proposal would strip all funding from the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA).

Robert Bush
  • Robert Bush
Bush, who was named president of the ASC in March 2014, noted the value of the arts to the country's economy. According to figures from the NEA and U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released in 2013, the arts contributed $704 billion to the economy that year alone, accounting for more than 4 percent of the nation's GDP and employing nearly 5 million workers.

"Funding to the NEA serves as a significant leveraging tool that has helped create an entire industry of locally based small businesses and jobs that cannot be outsourced," wrote Bush. "Investment in the NEA provides funding that promotes artistic innovation and addresses access social, technological and healthcare issues."

Bush went on to list the ways the NEA-funded ASC helps folks here in our community, and called on local residents to contact their representatives and demand the budget not be approved as proposed.

"In Charlotte-Mecklenburg, military families can explore Charlotte museums for free, Charlotte Symphony musicians can engage with music students at Northwest School of the Arts, public art animates our community and a UNC Charlotte professor can be featured in the New York Times for re-creating a long-lost dance," he wrote.

"Everyone should have access and opportunities to experience the arts regardless of their economic status, where they live, ethnicity or disability. This budget proposal must not be approved. ASC, the cultural community and its supporters are reaching out to their representatives in Congress now and advocate to keep funding the NEA. It is my hope that fellow residents will do the same."

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Charlotte Roller Girls All-Stars Take Care of Business in Opener

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 12:19 PM

The Charlotte Roller Girls were back at it on Saturday, March 4, for another season opener at the Grady Cole Center.

Total Lizaster coached the CLTRG All-Stars last Saturday after skating for five years. - RYAN PITKIN
  • Ryan Pitkin
  • Total Lizaster coached the CLTRG All-Stars last Saturday after skating for five years.
The Charlotte Roller Girls All-Stars took care of business early, taking down the Tallahassee RollerGirls 255-155. The CLTRG’s B-team, the B-Dazzlers, had a rougher go of things, falling to the Carolina RollerGirls Bootleggers from Raleigh by a score of 305-120.

Total Lizaster skated with CLTRG for five years before taking to the sidelines as the All-Stars’ coach on Saturday.

“Going from an All-Star skater to coach has been incredible. Sure, I wish I was still on the track battling it out with my teammates, but I feel like I bring a unique perspective to coaching,” Lizaster said following the bout. “With the emotions of being a skater still fresh in my mind, I can have a better understanding of what is going through my players’ heads during the game.”

Lizaster said she’s confident about the team’s potential as they prepare to cross the country for the Dust Bowl tournament in Bakersfield, California, on March 17.

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Sherrell Dorsey Appears on Phone Wallet Keys Podcast

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 11:29 AM

Sherrell Dorsey
  • Sherrell Dorsey

"Why is everybody wearing these wack khakis?"

Less than 10 minutes into this week's episode of the local Phone Wallet Keys Podcast and Sherrell Dorsey, founder of The Plug Daily, is already going in on why her newest venture, #BLKTECHCLT, is needed in Charlotte's tech world.

Dorsey, who writes Creative Loafing's monthly "Thank me Later" column, hosted her first #BLKTECHCLT experience in December, and will be hosting the second one tomorrow at Hygge West on Remount Road, where Queen V and Light Skin Joe record the PWK podcast.

In the lead-up to this week's event, Dorsey joined the PWK hosts and tech entrepreneur Kendrick Carroll to talk about The Plug, #BLKTECHCLT and how an all-inclusive event like Thursday's helps diversify what can feel like an exclusive field for most black techies. Check the episode out below, and might we suggest you catch up with the PWK episodes and subscribe? It's one of our local favorites.

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Sunday, March 5, 2017

VIDEO: The Revolution Got Screen Printed in NoDa on Sunday

Posted By and on Sun, Mar 5, 2017 at 4:52 PM

Screen print artists set up at Company Shop in NoDa Sunday, making political and other kinds of socially conscious art at "Print | Organize | Protest: Charlotte," part of a nationwide campaign leading up to International Women's Day on March 8. CL news editor Ryan Pitkin was there with his video camera catching some of the artists in action.

You can also read Pitkin's Q&A with the event's organizers, Susan and Evan Plante in this week's print issue of Creative Loafing or at the link below.

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